Lionel Scaloni states that Lionel Messi will start against Canada in Copa America semifinal

Football: Lionel Messi will play in Argentina's Copa America semifinal against Canada on Tuesday night, despite suffering a leg injury. Meanwhile Lionel Scaloni said that Lionel Messi will be available for the match.

Varun Sarwate
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Lionel Scaloni and Lionel Messi

Lionel Scaloni and Lionel Messi (Source: Sportstar)

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Lionel Messi will play in Argentina's Copa America semifinal against Canada on Tuesday night, despite suffering a leg injury. Messi has been struggling with a right leg injury since his group-stage victory against Chile on June 25. 

He missed the first-round final four days later, but he played the full quarterfinal encounter against Ecuador last Thursday. Messi, 37, has 13 Copa America goals, four behind the record held by Argentina's Norberto Méndez and Brazil's Zizinho, but is yet to score in this year's tournament.

As per AP News, Lionel Scaloni said “Leo is good. He will be playing tomorrow.” “It’s an easy decision for me.” “It’s a fairly honest decision: I ask him how he feels. If he says ‘I’m not good,’ then he will play the last 30 minutes. When he’s available, he will play.” In the opening match of the tournament on June 20, Argentina defeated Canada 2-0 with goals from Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martínez, setting up Messi's team to pursue a record 16th Copa America championship.

Both sides have won on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals. Venezuela was beaten by Canada, a visitor from North America who was invited. Uruguay takes on Colombia in the other semifinal on Wednesday night in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sunday is the championship game at Miami Gardens, Florida. Although Argentina will have one extra day of rest than Canada, both sides will have just finished 90-minute games. According to tournament rules, extra time can only be utilized in the championship match if necessary.

Argentina aims to win third major trophy

Argentina hopes to win its third major title, following victories in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2021 Copa America. It also wishes to track Spain, the 2008 and 2012 European Championship winners, as well as the 2010 World Cup. Uruguay and the Albiceleste are tied for the most Copa America wins with 15. 

With victories over Colombia in the Copa semifinals of 2021, the Netherlands in the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals, France in the championship game, and Ecuador this week, Argentina's goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has won four straight shootouts. 

Lionel Messi Argentine Football Association Copa America 2024